Cereal grain plant of the family Poaceae (or Gramineae), probably native to Africa, and its edible starchy seeds. All types raised chiefly for grain belong to the species Sorghum vulgare, which includes varieties of grain sorghums and grass sorghums (grown for hay and fodder), and broomcorn (used in making brooms and brushes). The strong grass usually grows 2–8 ft (0.5–2.5 m) or higher. The seeds are smaller than those of wheat. Though high in carbohydrates, sorghum is of lower feed quality than corn. Resistant to drought and heat, sorghum is one of Africa's major cereal grains. It is also grown in the U.S., India, Pakistan, and northern and northeastern China. Substantial quantities are also grown in Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, Argentina, Australia, and southern Europe. The grain is usually ground into meal for porridge, flatbreads, and cakes.
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Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of sorghum which have a high sugar content. Sweet sorghum will thrive under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and sugar production.
African slaves introduced the crop, which then was known as "Guinea corn," into the United States in the early part of the 17th century. Sweet sorghum has been widely cultivated in the U.S. since the 1850s for use in sweeteners, primarily in the form of sorghum syrup. By the early 1900s, the U.S. produced 20 million gallons of sweet sorghum syrup annually. Making syrup from sorghum (as from sugar cane) is heavily labor intensive. Following World War II, with the declining availability of farm labor, sorghum syrup production fell drastically. Currently, less than 1 million gallons are produced annually in the U.S. Most sorghum grown for syrup production is grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Sorghum syrup and hot biscuits are a traditional breakfast in southern Appalachia.
In the U.S. since the 1950s, sorghum has been raised primarily for forage and silage, with sorghum cultivation for cattle feed concentrated in the Great Plains (Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska are the leading producers), where insufficient rainfall and high temperature make corn production unprofitable.
Sweet sorghum syrup is called "molasses" or "sorghum molasses" in some regions of the U.S., but the term molasses more properly refers to a different sweet syrup, made as a byproduct of the sugarcane or sugar beet production.
In India Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute has been selling sweet sorghum syrup since 1990s. Feedback from the users compares the syrup with honey both in color and taste.
Grain sorghum has been utilized by the ethanol industry for quite some time because it yields approximately the same amount of ethanol per bushel as corn. As new generation ethanol processes are studied and improved, sorghum's role may continue to expand.
In India, and other places, Sweet Sorghum stalks are used for producing bio-fuel by squeezing the juice and then fermenting into ethanol. Texas A&M University in the United States is currently running trials to produce the best varieties for ethanol production from sorghum leaves and stalks in the USA.
Effects of Legume Type, Planting Pattern and Time of Establishment on Growth and Yield of Sweet Sorghum-Legume Intercropping
Aug 01, 2012; Abstract Sweet sorghum is a popular grain crop grown in water stress prone areas in the world. Its sole stand leaves ample...
Sorghum syrup - 'old' and 'new' sweetener: new technology for sweet sorghum syrup enables production of industrial quantities. (Special Section: Foods of Tomorrow)
Feb 01, 1992; Sweet sorghum syrup, a natural sweetener that was a 19th century staple, is making a comeback--thanks to renewed interest and...
Yield, quality and irrigation water use efficiency of sweet sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (Linn.) Moench] under different land types in arid regions
Apr 06, 2012; Abstract In order to evaluate changes in biomass, sugar content, ethanol yield as well as water use status of sweet sorghum...